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55 Cafeteria Copycat Recipes That’ll Take You Back

From sloppy joes to hush puppies, these old school cafeteria recipes will bring you right back to the 8th grade. How many of these foods did you eat in school?

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Turkey Sloppy Joes for a Crowd

I found this recipe in my mother's recipe box. Sometimes I serve it over vegetables such as corn or green beans, but it's equally delicious on a bun. —Julie Clemes, Adrian Michigan

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Walking Tacos

These Walking Tacos are great for an on-the-go dinner, campfire meal or easy game night supper. The ingredients go right into the chip bags! —Beverly Matthews, Pasco, Washington

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Ranch Green Beans

Years ago, I discovered this handwritten recipe on a note card and decided to give it a try. It's deliciously different from the usual green bean casserole and quickly became a favorite. —Carol Conn, Aurora, Colorado

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Barbecue Chicken Pizza

My husband and I love BBQ chicken pizza, but I decided to take it up a notch by adding other toppings that we love, including smoky bacon and creamy Gorgonzola. My mouth starts to water just thinking about it! —Megan Crow, Lincoln, Nebraska

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Indiana-Style Corn Dogs

One of the best parts of the many fairs and festivals in Indiana is the corn dogs! My family loves corn dogs, so I fix them fairly often at home. —Sally Denney, Warsaw, Indiana

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Big & Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies

My take on the classic cookie is inspired by a bakery in California called Hungry Bear. It's big, thick and chewy—truly the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. —Irene Yeh, Mequon, Wisconsin

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Cheese Fries

I came up with this recipe after my daughter had cheese fries at a restaurant and couldn't stop talking about them. She loves that I can fix them so quickly at home. Plus, the frozen fry packets can be refrigerated and reheated. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina

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Hearty Beef & Bean Chili

The slow cooker makes this chili ideal for entertaining. A few minutes of prep and then it cooks away while you can attend to other party details. Your guests will really enjoy this nicely seasoned hearty dish.—Jan Wagner-Cuda, Deer Park, Washington

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Peppery Hush Puppies

For our family, a good fish dinner just isn't complete without these zesty hush puppies. You can also serve them alone as a satisfying snack. —Carolyn Griffin, Macon, Georgia

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Cara's Crunchy Chicken Strips

Crushed croutons—buy ’em or make ’em—are the crunchy secret to these easy-bake nuggets of chicken. —Cara Winterhoff, Tempe, Arizona

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Hearty Salisbury Steaks

I love serving Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables. With its down-home taste, this meal disappears fast! —Dorothy Bayes, Sardis, Ohio

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Kid-Tested Cheeseburger Pizza

The term "picky eater" may have started when small children began refusing offers of liver and onions while feeding their Brussels sprouts to pets under the table. A new generation of "kid friendly" foods was born, and Cheeseburger Pizza is just that—thumbs up kid-approved. —Jennifer Miller, Smyrna, Tennessee

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Sloppy Joe Dogs

There are so many different ways to top a hot dog, but this tasty sloppy joe version beats them all. ‐Kimberly Wallace, Dennison, Ohio

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Chilled Fruit Cups

This refreshing frozen salad is easy to assemble ahead and serve to a group at breakfast - or any time of day. It's a convenient and colorful addition to a holiday buffet. —Andrea Hawthorne, Mozeman, Montana

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Pizza Macaroni & Cheese

My grandma made this for us once when she came to visit and I never forgot just how good it was. Since my kids love anything with pepperoni and cheese, I thought they'd enjoy it just as much as I did. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia

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Cheeseburger Soup

A local restaurant serves a similar soup but wouldn't share its recipe with me. So I developed my own, modifying a recipe for potato soup. I was really pleased with the way this all-American treat turned out. —Joanie Shawhan, Madison, Wisconsin

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Meat Loaf Muffins

Serve these tangy meat loaf muffins for dinner or slice them up for a take-along sandwich lunch. They're just as flavorful after freezing. — Cheryl Norwood, Canton, Georgia

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

Oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chips make these bars a big hit with kids of all ages. Since I always have these basic ingredients on hand, I can whip up a batch anytime. —Patricia Staudt, Marble Rock, Iowa

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Spaghetti Meatball Supper

It was such a joy to come home and find my mom making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. This recipe has always been dear to my heart. —Debbie Heggie, Laramie, Wyoming

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Corn Dog Twists

Kids will have as much fun making these cute twists on the same old hot dogs and buns as they will eating them! Set out bowls of relish, mustard and catsup for easy dipping. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina

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White Texas Sheet Cake

This cake gets better the longer it sits, so I try to make it a day ahead. My mother-in-law introduced this deliciously rich sheet cake to me. With its creamy frosting and light almond flavor, no one can stop at just one piece! —Joanie Ward, Brownsburg, Indiana

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Lunch Box Pizzas

It's a challenge finding lunch fare that both our children enjoy. These mini pizzas are fun to make. They pack nicely in plastic sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas

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Homemade Fish Sticks

I'm a nutritionist and needed a healthy fish fix. Moist inside and crunchy outside, these are great with oven fries or roasted veggies and low-fat homemade tartar sauce. —Jennifer Rowland, Elizabethtown, Kentucky

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Baked Beef Tacos

We give tacos a fresh approach by baking the shells upright in refried beans and tomatoes. The bottom gets soft, and the top stays crisp and crunchy. —Patricia Stagich, Elizabeth, New Jersey

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Kids' Favorite Chili

This third-generation hearty chili is a family favorite. It's a sweet and easy chili that's sure to warm the whole family up on those chilly fall nights. —Terri Keeney, Greeley, Colorado

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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-and-bacon filled hot dogs, but they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution to a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah

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Frosted Fudge Brownies

A neighbor brought over a pan of these rich brownies along with the recipe when I came home from the hospital with our baby daughter. I asked her how to make brownies like that, and I've made them ever since for family occasions, potlucks and parties at work. —Sue Soderlund, Elgin, Illinois

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Frito Pie

Frito pie is legendary in the Southwest for being spicy, salty and cheesy fabulous. Here’s my easy take on this crunchy classic. —Jan Moon, Alamogordo, New Mexico

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Creamed Corn

Five ingredients are all you'll need for my popular creamed corn recipe. It's wonderful no matter what the occasion is. Try it on a barbecue buffet or holiday menu. —Barbara Brizendine, Harrisonville, Missouri

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Sausage Johnnycake

Here’s a nice, hearty breakfast with plenty of old-fashioned flavor. I serve it to my bed-and-breakfast customers. They love the cake’s savory middle and maple syrup topping. It’s a great way to start the day! —Lorraine Guyn, Calgary, Alberta

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Homemade Butterscotch Pudding

Homemade pudding reminds me of my grandma and how she turned milk and eggs into creamy textures before my eyes. The butterscotch in this recipe adds a caramel-sweet touch. —Teresa Wilkes, Pembroke, Georgia

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Zesty Hamburger Vegetable Soup

You won’t face early afternoon hunger when you pack this soup for lunch. Freeze leftovers in small batches so you can enjoy them anytime. —Kelly Milan, Lake Jackson, Texas

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Super Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Heat up your indoor grill to make these ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich recipes. They're delicious served with soup! —Debbie Murray, Fort Worth, Texas

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Cheesy Mac & Cheese

Everyone comes home for dinner when I make this homemade Macaroni and Cheese. It also receives great compliments at potlucks.—Debra Sult, Chandler, Arizona

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Double Chocolate Sheet Cake

Here’s a great dessert for a big family or to bring to the potluck or church supper. The tender, moist cake and chocolaty frosting is every sweet tooth’s dream come true. —Barbara Walsh, Murdock, Nebraska

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Chicken Tater Bake

You'll please everyone in the family with this inviting and filling dish. It tastes like a chicken potpie topped with Tater Tots. —Fran Allen, St Louis, Missouri

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Taco Bubble Pizza

Your entire family's going to be requesting this Taco Bubble Pizza recipe! Lucky for you, it's a cinch with tomato soup, taco seasoning and refrigerated biscuits. Set up a taco bar and let everyone add his or her favorite toppings. —Dawn Schutter, Titonka, Iowa

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Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup

When the weather turns chilly, I stock my soup pot with this warmer-upper. The creamy, nicely seasoned broth is chock-full of tender chicken, potatoes, carrots and celery. There's old-fashioned goodness in every spoonful of this thick, hearty soup! —Julee Wallberg, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Skillet Nachos

My mom gave me a fundraiser cookbook, and the recipe I’ve used most is for skillet nachos. My whole family's on board. For toppings, think sour cream, tomatoes, jalapeno and red onion. —Judy Hughes, Waverly, Kansas

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Sloppy Joes for 8 Dozen

My husband and I raised 3 boys, and they had great appetites. I cooked and baked huge amounts of everything! I hope you like these Sloppy Joes as much as we do. —Wanieta Penner, Assaria, Kansas

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Firecracker Casserole

My husband and I love this southwestern-style casserole. The flavor reminds us of enchiladas, but the recipe doesn't require the extra time to roll them up. —Teressa Eastman, El Dorado, Kansas

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No-Bake Cereal Bars

With crisp rice cereal and peanut butter, these bars taste almost like candy. —Pauline Christiansen, Columbus, Kansas

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Mom's Turkey Tetrazzini

Filled with family-friendly flavors, a pleasant peppery kick and a creamy from-scratch sauce, this hearty dish is just the kind of stick-to-your-ribs comfort food you’re looking for. —Emma Hathway Price, Tampa, Florida

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Classic Carrot Cake

I entered this yummy, moist cake in a Colorado Outfitters Association dessert contest. My carrot cake with pineapple earned first place! —Cheri Eby, Gunnison, Colorado

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Cheeseburger 'n' Fries Casserole

Kids love this casserole because it combines two of their favorite fast foods. And I like the fact that I can whip it up with just four ingredients. —Karen Owen, Rising Sun, Indiana

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Chicken & Bean Chili

Chili Time is any time you want to make a hungry crowd happy. This creamy chili is a must at my soup party every year. —Theresa Baehr, Williamsburg, Michigan

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Best-Ever Meat Loaf

The combination of onion, carrots, parsley and cheese—plus the tomato-mustard topping—makes this meat loaf really colorful. The recipe lends itself easily to being doubled or halved to suit the number you're cooking for, and it freezes well, too. —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington

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Easy Cake Mix Bars

I take these bars to work for Friday pick-me-ups. I love to share them because they're so easy to eat, easy to make and easy on the wallet. —Amy Rose, Ballwin, Missouri

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Breadstick Pizza

Not only do refrigerated breadsticks lend a fun twist to pizza, but they make this dish a weeknight staple at my house. Feeding kids? Slice pieces into small strips and let the kids dip each strip into marinara sauce. They’ll love it! —Mary Hankins, Kansas City, Missouri

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Pizza Rolls

This is my husband's version of store-bought pizza rolls, and our family loves them. Although they take some time to make, they freeze well. So when we're through, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor for a long time! —Julie Gaines, Normal, Illinois

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Sweet Macaroni Salad

A sweet out-of-the-ordinary dressing makes this macaroni salad special. My aunt gave me the recipe and it has become one of my favorites. I occasionally leave out the green pepper if I know that people don't like it...and it still tastes great. —Idalee Scholz, Cocoa Beach, Florida

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Cheddar Corn Dog Muffins

I wanted to riff on hot dogs, so I made corn dog muffins. I added jalapenos to this “kid friendly” recipe and won my husband over, too. —Becky Tarala, Palm Coast, Florida

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Brenda's Baked Beans

When I was a kid, my mom made baked beans all the time. Sometimes we'd turn this side into a main dish by adding sliced hot dogs. —Brenda Brooks, Bowie, Maryland

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Ultimate Fudgy Brownies

In these ultra fudgy brownies, coffee granules bump up the chocolate flavor. Add chocolate chips to the batter and you’ve got irresistible treats. —Sarah Thompson, Greenfield, Wisconsin

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Double-Duty Hearty Chili Without Beans

When it’s time to build my zesty chili, I combine everything the night before. In the morning, I load the slow cooker and let it do the work. —Molly Butt, Granville, Ohio

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